Ervin "Butch" Panko, 84, of Syracuse, passed away Thursday, August 22, 2019 at the Good Samaritan Center in Syracuse, Nebraska. He was born to Fred and Louise (Doeden) Panko on December 29, 1934 on the farm near Cook, Nebraska. He was baptized and confirmed at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Cook, Nebraska. Butch attended rural elementary school near Cook and graduated from Cook High School in 1952. He farmed and did mechanical work for many years for Panko Repair.
Butch served his country in the National Guard and later in the Army Reserves from 1952 -1994. Butch served on the Nemaha Valley School Board and Grace Lutheran Church Council. He loved to tell stories and had a good sense of humor. Butch would be described by many as ornery and he practiced this throughout his life. Although a hard and diligent worker, he always had time to share a joke or tease a friend, anything to get a smile or laughter from those around him. He enjoyed practical jokes, visiting with family (especially grandkids or great-grandkids), or making a new friend. He loved the land, clearing the land, and harvesting the abundance of the land. He was proud to serve his country for 60 years. He was a very sentimental man who saved every card ever given to him and a proud father and grandpa who cut out every newspaper story that involved his family. Even though some would consider him a "penny pincher", he was secretly compassionate and generous. He will be missed by all.
He is survived by his wife Arlene Panko of Syracuse, children, Joy Stilmock and husband Jerry of Syracuse, Cory Panko and special friend Rose Rowe of Cook, Keith Fairchild and wife Connie of Papillion and Terry Panko and wife Beth of Cook, step-children, Ken Sillman and wife Deb and Kris Jones of Beatrice, grandchildren, Andrew, Nathan, Mitchell and Timothy Stilmock, Michelle Dutcher and husband Luke, Makayla Schippert and husband Grant, Madison Panko, Triston and Mackenzie Fairchild and Ryan Panko, step-grandchildren, Jesse Jones and wife Crystal, April Seibert and husband Marty, Holly Jones, Lindsay Rodysill and husband Kris and Jordon Sillman and wife Sarah, 12 great-grandchildren, sister, Marilyn Neeman and husband Lloyd of State College, PA and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Butch was preceded in death by his parents, wife Lola, daughter, Jeanette Panko, brother, Eldon Panko and step-great-grandson, Draven Findeis.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, August 26, 2019 at the Grace Lutheran Church in Cook, Nebraska with Pastor Sarah Cordray and Pastor Gary Panko officiating.
Visitation will be held from 1-8 p.m., with family greeting friends from 2- 4 p.m., Sunday, August 25, 2019 at the Wherry Mortuary in Tecumseh, Nebraska.
Memorials in lieu of flowers, may go to the Syracuse Volunteer Rescue Squad or the Grace Lutheran Cemetery Association.
Interment will be in the Grace Lutheran Cemetery, rural Cook, Nebraska with military rites by the Syracuse American Legion Post #100 and the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Team.
Online condolences may be left @ www.wherrymortuary.com.
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